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How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies

What makes a perfect chocolate chip cookie is subjective. Some like thin and crispy, others light and airy, and many land right in the chewy middle. Learn to make your own best chocolate chip cookies with a foolproof recipe, plus tips from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen to make them your own.

By Elizabeth Harris, Contributing Editor

Basket of homemade chocolate chip cookies.


How to Make Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

Start with this winning recipe, and then use the tips that follow to perfect your technique, and even customize your cookies for the texture, thickness and flavor you prefer.

What You’ll Need:

Time

  • Prep: 10 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Mixer
  • Greased baking sheets
  • Wire racks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (dough will be sticky). Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes: about 11 dozen




Expert Tips from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen and Home Cooks

How to Cream Butter

Start with softened butter. To soften butter quickly, microwave the sticks at 70 percent power in 10-second intervals from two to four times. The butter should be ready to use—a table knife will glide through it. —Patricia Winn, Freeville, New York


How to Measure Ingredients Accurately

Baking is a precise science, so measure your ingredients correctly to ensure your recipe’s success.


How to Measure Brown Sugar

Because of the moist texture of brown sugar, recipes call for it to be packed into a measuring cup for an accurate measurement. Press or pack brown sugar into a cup using your fingers or the back of a spoon, then level the top. When tipped out of the cup, the brown sugar should hold its shape.

Packing brown sugar into measuring cups.


How to Measure Bulk Ingredients

Spoon bulk ingredients, such as dried cranberries, raisins, nuts or chips, into a measuring cup, then level the top.

 Measuring bulk ingredients in a measuring cup and leveling off the top.


How to Measure Shortening

Press shortening from a can into dry measuring cups with a spatula to ensure that it is solidly packed without air bubbles, then level the top.

Using a spatula to level off shortening in a measuring cup.


How to Use Measuring Spoons and Cups

Measure dry ingredients, such as flour, sugar or spices, by heaping them into the spoon, then leveling the top. Pour liquid ingredients into a measuring spoon over a custard cup or small bowl to catch spills.

Leveling off a measuring spoon filled with sugar.


How to Make Uniform Cookies

For even baking, it's important to make cookies the same size.

Fill a teaspoon or tablespoon with dough. Use another spoon or small rubber spatula to push the mound of dough off the spoon onto a cool baking sheet. Place dough 2 to 3 inches apart or as recipe directs.

Using two spoons to drop chocolate chip cookie dough on a baking sheet.


An ice cream scoop is a perfect utensil for making uniformly sized drop cookies. (A 1 tablespoon-sized ice cream scoop will result in a standard-size 2-inch cookie.) Just scoop the dough, even off the top with a flat-edge metal spatula and release onto a baking sheet.

Using an ice cream scoop to drop chocolate chip cookie dough onto a baking sheet.


How to Minimize Clean-Up

To keep from dirtying so many cookie sheets when you’re baking several batches of a chocolate chip cookie recipe, try this: Cut five or six pieces of parchment paper to fit your cookie sheet. Lay them on the countertop and drop cookie dough onto them. Place one piece of parchment (with cookie dough) on top of the cookie sheet and bake. When you take the cookies out of the oven, slide the parchment with the cookies off the cookie sheet and onto wire racks to cool. Continue in this way until you’ve baked all your cookies. —Emma Noack, Herculaneum, Missouri


Bonus Tips

  • If your mixer begins to strain because the cookie dough is too thick, use a wooden spoon to stir in your chips.
  • Avoid overmixing the dough. If it's handled too much, the cookies will be tough.
  • Use butter, stick margarine (with at least 80% oil) or shortening. Whipped, tub, soft, liquid or reduced-fat products contain air and water and will produce flat, tough, underbrowned cookies.
  • Use heavy-gauge dull aluminum baking sheets with one or two low sides. When a recipe calls for greased baking sheets, use shortening or nonstick cooking spray. Dark finishes may cause the cookies to become overly browned.
  • Preheat the oven for 10 to 15 minutes before baking cookies.
  • Leave at least 2 inches around the baking sheet and the oven walls for good heat circulation. For best results, bake only one sheet of cookies at a time. If you need to bake two sheets at once, switch the position of the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.
  • Check the cookies when the minimum baking time has been reached, baking longer if needed.
  • Unless otherwise directed, let cookies cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely before storing.
  • Let baking sheets cool before placing the next batch of cookies dough on them. Otherwise, the heat from the baking sheet will soften the dough and cause it to spread.

How to Store Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • For crisp cookies, store them in a container with a loose-fitting cover. If you prefer soft cake-like cookies, store in a container with a tight-fitting cover.
  • If the weather is humid, you should store crisp cookies in a container with a tight-fitting cover. Using waxed paper between the layers should keep them separate and prevent sticking.
  • Remember to always cool cookies completely before storing them. Warm cookies stored in a sealed container can cause an entire batch to soften from the steam they create.
  • Don’t mix soft and crisp cookies in the same container, unless you want the moisture from the soft cookies to soften the crisp cookies.
  • If your crisp cookies still become too soft, place them on a baking sheet and warm them at 300° for 3-5 minutes.

How to Freeze Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  • Most cookie doughs can be stored in the freezer. Just make sure not to freeze dough containing sour cream or cream cheese.
  • After mixing the dough, chill it in the refrigerator until firm. Then shape it into a large ball or square.
  • Wrap in freezer paper, then place in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Freeze for up to 6 months.
  • Once frozen, transfer to labeled freezer bags. Remove as many portions as you need and bake, making sure to add additional baking time.
  • Thaw dough in the refrigerator before baking. For drop cookies, you can place individual cookie portions onto waxed paper-lined cookie sheets and freeze.